WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight, the U.S. Senate passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act—legislation U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, co-sponsored and amended to improve the accuracy of broadband coverage maps. Specifically, the legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use more granular data in their broadband maps. The bill now moves to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.

“These coverage maps often help determine what funding goes where,” Senator Capito said. “That’s why more granular data is imperative. I’m particularly proud of the provisions I included in this bill, and I’m hopeful these meaningful changes will further our efforts to close the digital divide in West Virginia and other rural parts of the country. This legislation is another Capito Connect success, and I’m eager to see the changes benefit homes and businesses across the state.”

The Broadband DATA Act includes several provisions Senator Capito authored and were part of her Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA), which she introduced in May 2019.

Senator Capito’s language in the Broadband DATA Act would: 

  • Lead to the creation of a singular federal broadband map with new, more granular data collected by the FCC from state and local governments, consumers, and other third parties and updated biannually.

  • Establish a process requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to consult the map before distributing funds.

  • Develop an online mechanism that allows for challenge submissions and establishes a process for the regular updating of the coverage maps once challenges are resolved. The challenge process can be used for the coverage maps, data submitted by providers, and the location fabric.

  • Require regular auditing of data submitted by providers, allowing for crowdsourcing verification and providing technical assistance for both Tribal and smaller providers that have fewer than 100,000 active connections.


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